May 09, 2021
Is homemade almond butter better than store-bought?
Well, that all depends on who’s making it. Commercial almond butters pack many perks: they have a long shelf life, they usually have a smooth consistency, making them super spreadable, and they’re often super tasty.
But I think we have a bit of a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing situation on our hands here, so let’s unpack these so-called perks.
We’re a bit of a Goldilocks kind of culture, aren’t we? Nothing too dry or too wet. Too sharp or too dull. Too strong or too weak. Too hot or too cold. While some may call this balance, I call it BS. We’re trying to achieve a state of perfectionism that doesn’t exist–not organically anyways.
Food isn’t perfect, especially homemade food. The attempt to make it perfect requires a slew of ingredients that should sketch the crap out of anyone who knows anything about high-quality, wholesome food.
So, what many commercial varieties and sneaky private proprietors do to make their almond butter prettier, bustier, and longer-lasting is augment its natural form. It’s a bit like Botox for nut butters.
A long shelf life requires preservatives, that theoretically speaking, should contribute to longevity in that it preserves organic matter (but we know that’s not the case––one is not guaranteed a longer life because they eat spam and canned spaghetti!).
A sweeter or enhanced flavor requires extra salt, sugar, or–ready for this?–MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), a food additive with the e-number E621 (if that doesn’t say enough already) that gives many an unsuspecting snacker face bloat (sounds horrible, right? It is.)
A perfectly drippy consistency requires the addition of extraneous oils––that is, not sourced from the nuts themselves. Such oils are usually hydrogenated, a squirm-inducing term for the chemical alteration of an oil’s structure resulting in trans-fat (another term to make you squirm).
The skinny of this short story on hydrogenated oils is––literally––stay away from it if you care anything about your health, and same-same on the MSG.
If you’re really into the idea of “everything in moderation” then:
1) please don’t go near hard drugs,
2) save the hydrogenated oils for when it really counts, like in that bag of potato chips you absolutely must have occasionally, and
3) don’t consume MSG on a first date.
Almond butter is actually better without all that extra crap. I know this because I make it from scratch, using only the nuts themselves. That’s right, I’m all nuts and no BS (so are my nut butters).
And though I’d give you major brownie ball points for creative snacking, dipping those potato chips into my almond butter doesn’t make those chips any less hydrogenated - sorry!
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